Here Come OTAs! And Other Bears Bullets

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Here Come OTAs! And Other Bears Bullets

Chicago Bears

Are you suuuuure we need to have Mondays? Isn’t there a way to add another day to our weekends? After all, time is just a human construct. Maybe this is something I can bring up with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who would surely love another day to market games on a weekly basis.

Phase Three of the NFL’s collectively bargained offseason workout regimen allows teams to get on the field for non-contact practices in the form of OTAs. Phase Three consists of four weeks of practices with no pads (except knee and elbow pads and helmets) and no live contact. Teams are permitted to run 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills sans contact.

While it’s still players running around in shorts, OTAs mark the next step in the offseason program as players gear up for a new season. 

  • The ramp-up continues. However, it does so with limitations. I’m looking forward to hearing nuggets and tidbits about what goes on in 7-on-7 drills and whatnot. Who’s lining up where? How are the rookies integrating with the vets? Whose stock is climbing? Are there corresponding falling stocks? Which under-the-radar player will stake an early claim to being the offseason fan favorite that no one would dare cut because superstar potential is on the horizon if you squint hard enough. It’ll get silly, to be sure. But I’m opening my arms to silly season in May while we still can
  • Even still … there is no practice with pads. And there can’t be live contact. So we can’t get too carried away. But the slow and steady climb that comes with non-contact practice is kin to getting a sliver of cornbread before my pops throws the rest of it into the turkey dressing. These voluntary team activities aren’t mandatory, so expecting everyone to check in would be foolish. But you’ll see many of the main characters (unless they’re having contract disputes).
  • Here is an important reminder: The roster of folks we see at Halas Hall now won’t necessarily be the same one we see when training camp opens this summer. From 5-22-22 until 7-27-22 when camp opened, the Bears signed DL Mike Pennel (6-13), DB Jayson Stanley (6-21), OL Michael Schofield (7-25), and OT Riley Reiff (7-26). They also traded for WR N’Keal Harry (7-13) because there is never a bad time to execute a trade. And as a refresher that transaction avenue is a two-way street, they also released LB Jeremiah Attaochu (6-13) and waived LS Antonio Ortiz (7-13). In other words, don’t get too comfortable with this roster. It’ll change between now and when we get to training camp.
  • I think Marc Sessler nails the Bears’ situation as being better, but not good enough with this sentiment:

The Bears made plenty of progress on paper, but who will rush the passer this fall? Chicago failed to draft an edge rusher after ending last season with a league-low 20 sacks. Defensive-minded head coach Matt Eberflus can’t be thrilled with free-agent pickup DeMarcus Walker — with 19.5 sacks in six seasons — doubling as the club’s top dog. General manager Ryan Poles would be wise to chase down the likes of Frank Clark or Yannick Ngakoue before the competition comes calling. 

  • FWIW: History has an odd way of repeating itself. At this time last year, we were awaiting any type of receiver or offensive line help that could come our way. It didn’t come until later in the summer. And it didn’t even come in a splashy way. Nevertheless, we saw the Bears wait out the free-agent OL market with vets (Reiff and Schofield). And we also witnessed GM Ryan Poles go about unearthing receiver help by acquiring a change-of-scenery candidate (Harry) via trade. Maybe we’re set to re-live that again, but with defensive ends.
  • On the one hand, Ndamukong Suh technically fits as someone who plays a position the Bears need to fill. But on the other hand, Suh says he has “no desire to be in a training camp” (h/t PFT) and I don’t think that would fly with this team. There’s very much an all-hands-on-deck vibe emanating from Halas Hall and Suh’s declaration that he wants no part of training camp would undermine that concept. Then again, if I had a third hand, signing Suh would keep him from executing dirty hits on yet another Bears quarterback. So … maybe we should hear him out? Nah…
  • Way to go, Cole:

  • Justin Fields’ numbers when targeting Kmet (2021-22): 73/108, 779 yards, 6 TD, 3 INT, 95.4 passer rating. Let these two keep cooking!
  • You never know what you’ll see in Chicago:

  • If the Cubs are going to get out of their rut, they’ll need to win the Justin Steele starts. (BN Cubs)
  • Heroes get remembered, but legends never die:

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Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.